Monday, October 21, 2019

Sep-Oct 2019: Maintenance Wrap-up

Ross & Jerry in Ghost Rider's Engine Room Working on
Installing the New Transmission Cable and the New
 ZF MicroCommander 9110 Brain Box.
We have noted before, and not without some humility and embarrassment, that experience can be a tough teacher.  And within that realm of education, that failure is the absolute best instructor.  Based just on failure frequency alone we're now thinking we should be at genius level by year end.

At 0815 on the morning of Friday, 27-September, Ross and Jerry of Classic Yacht Service showed up at the boat with a new throttle control brain box.  The ZF 9110 – the latest edition of the “MicroCommander Marine Propulsion Control System” – was identical in size and proportion to the old unit, so it dropped right in.  Jerry worked on attaching the small lead wires from each of the three throttle stations while Ross ran the new cable to the transmission.  Calibration of this unit is done with electronic programming vs. the old style dip switches, and that takes time and patience (as well as two people.)  But three hours later we were dock testing successfully.

After another inspection of the fly bridge throttle station we all agreed that it warranted a new replacement unit.  Ross’s normal supplier had a six week lead time (ZF bought Mathers years ago, thus it's mostly an overseas operation now), so Rick went hunting online and found one in Tennessee (through Marine Parts Source, LINK) and placed an order for the last one they had in stock.  The new 400 Series control head, a Mathers 453-3R, arrived via FedEx a few days later.  On Tuesday, 01-October Ross called to say he had found a sudden hole in his schedule, so that afternoon we rendezvoused at the boat, uninstalled the old fly bridge throttle, installed the new unit (with seven new crimp terminals and heat shrink sleeves), and got it all tested out. 
The New MicroCommander 9110 Brain Box.  In Addition to Upgraded Mother Board Electronics It Also Provides
an LED Digital Readout (Yellow Arrow) For Status & Error Codes.
The New Fly Bridge Throttle Control Station (Red Arrow).  It Isn't Easy to Access the Underside but We Found
Removing the Instrument Cluster Panel (Yellow Arrow) At Least Made That Possible.
Shortly thereafter Mike from Brightworks stopped by the boat to take a closer look at the port side rub rail damage.  As expected he was not very optimistic….it’s an extremely thick and heavy duty piece of stainless steel hardware; it will require special cutting tools to remove the damaged segments, and then it’s likely the replacement strips will need to be custom machined to fit.  We decided that was a job for a yard more experienced with the beefy build of the Nordhavn, so that will get deferred until we can get the boat back over to the east coast.  We'll discuss further with Yacht Tech in Palm Beach, but that will be a next year thing.  Rick spent a couple of hours each day during the first week of October sanding and polishing the deep scratches in the rub rail and was at least able to make it less ugly in the interim.
Accessing the Mid Bilge Drain is a Royal Pain,
But the Arrows Point to its General & Well
Hidden Location.

Amidst all the throttle system work we also encountered more standing water in the mid bilge area.  By this time Rick was getting thoroughly irritated.  The previous water leaks we had found and fixed were still fixed….no leaks from the new Whale fitting on the accumulator tank, ditto for the tightened water maker line on the water manifold.  But after once again tearing into that mid bilge area Rick did find an A/C condensate hose (from the pilot house unit) that was steadily dripping into that bilge cavity.  That part of the puzzle is actually normal – the issue had to be with a plugged limber hole or drain, preventing a flow back to the aft bilge (where the pumps are located.) 

It took some taxing boat yoga to locate, but eventually Rick found a plugged drain in that small bilge recess.  Fortunately and eventually we were able to snake a hose from the wet-dry shop vac down there and suck out the clogging debris.  If you look at the picture to the right, you can gain access to that drain via the removed panels noted by the yellow arrows -- from the top if you have five foot long arms, or from the backside if your arms and hands are less than two inches in diameter.
Yes, Seriously, There is a Drain Hidden in There.  How to Access It is Not At All Obvious or Easy.  Eventually We Were Able to Snake the Shop Vac Hose in There & Suck Out a Variety of Clogging Debris.
Next up is a sea test out the new throttle system components and find out if we broke anything else.  We'll cover that in the next blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment